Purdue now has played two of the most impressive first halves of any team in the country in consecutive weeks.
Halftime observations from Purdue 36, Ohio State 23:
Last week the Boilermakers went into East Lansing and took a 14-point lead on Michigan State at intermission, on their way to a 12-point victory. Now the Boilers have put a 13-point choke hold on Ohio State on the road, shooting 60 percent from the field (57 percent from 3-point range) and limiting the Buckeyes to one assist.
Purdue has a power trio of Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, and they trade off starring roles. Tonight it’s Johnson’s world – he has 15 points, four rebounds and three assists at halftime. Ohio State postman Dallas Lauderdale has had no idea how to combat the lanky junior Johnson.
If it weren’t for Evan Turner, this would be a Little Bighorn-level wipeout. Turner, my leading candidate for national Player of the Year, has 13 of Ohio State’s 23 points, four of its 12 rebounds and the lone assist. He’s made 6 of 13 shots against a rotating array of defenders, while the rest of the Buckeyes are 3 of 11.
William Buford, Ohio State’s second-leading scorer, did not scratch while playing the entire 20 minutes. Buford was 0 for 2 with one rebound and one blocked shot.
This game could really be out of hand if Purdue were a little tighter with its ball handling and passing. The Boilermakers have committed nine turnovers, while averaging just 10.8 per game in Big Ten play. Then again, Ohio State has turned it over 10 times, including four errors by Turner.
A late-arriving, lackadaisical crowd hasn’t helped Ohio State create much homecourt atmosphere or generated any significant animosity toward the Boilers. The vibe at Purdue home games is roughly 400 times more boisterous.